Books: Ogre or Scapegoat?

LAVAL by Hubert Cole. 314 pages. Putnam. $5.95.

Swart, frog-faced Pierre Laval had the look of a man born to play a horrid role. And in the popular Gallic fairy tale that still passes for the history of France during World War II, he has always made an ideal ogre—a sinister greasy eminence who bamboozled the National Assembly into capitulating in 1940 and dragged Marianne in the muck by collaborating with Germany. When gallant Charles de Gaulle returned to slay this monster and (with some small American help) deliver France from thralldom, his...

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